Donna Lombardi has always fought to be taken seriously amongst her peers on Black Ink Crew. When she wanted to become a tattoo artist, she was laughed off but it never deterred her. After all, she did move from her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio to the Harlem section of New York City with her sights set on that tattoo shop. So no one was going to get in the way of her living her dream. Being on the shop’s reality show wasn’t a part of her vision but she took it in stride. Now she is one of the show’s favorite cast members and she even accomplished her goal of becoming a tattoo artist, which now she is taking a step back from so she can explore other ventures and talents.
Besides being an artist she is an entrepreneur. She has her own line of CBD juices, called SuperCBDs, which has been deemed “relaxation in a bottle.” She also has a hair line called Muva Unii, which will be lauching soon. MadameNoire recently caught up with her to chat about the show’s new season, why she is taking a break from tattooing and her future with the show. Read below.
MadameNoire: How is the upcoming season of Black Ink Crew different from the past seasons?
Donna Lombardi: This season is very different. It’s been difficult for me. We went all went through COVID. So the world is a whole new world. Our shop at 113th is closed so we are in a new space. So we even took our talents down to Atlanta for a little bit. So it was definitely different not being in the same location that we’ve been in for the past eight seasons. I know everybody saw in the super trailer that I am going to be taking a break from tattooing and that decision has left me with a lot of anguish this season. Finding my way outside of tattooing has become a little difficult.
MN: Why has it been difficult?
DL: I just feel like this past 2020 has really shown me [that] things can stop at any moment and I want to cease life and grab it by the rings. Everything I wanted to do for the past couple years, I am just like the time is now. I can tattoo later in life but there are certain things I want to get done now.
MN: Tell me about the ventures you are exploring outside of tattooing.
DL: Right now I am focused on my hair line that is coming out [that includes] bundles, lace front and wigs. Then, secondary to that I love food and I love cooking so I’ve been doing infused dinners, CBD infused dinners. Where it’s legal [I’m selling] THC-infused dinners. I’m looking to broaden that part of my journey. Eventually I want to have a lounge and restaurant but the main focus is launching my hair line, Muva Unii.
MN: How do you handle your co-stars coming down so hard on you about your tattoo skills? I know it must be tough for you.
DL: It is tough. That is a part of why I paused from tattooing because I had f******* major mistake which I was able to fix. Me and client are still really close. She is the sweetest. But it’s like everybody just wants to dwell on that and when I say everybody I mean Ceasar… mostly Ceaser. But for me it was a blessing in disguise and I trust God every step of my journey. I’m just taking it as a sign that maybe I should take a step back from tattooing and explore the other many talents that God gave me.
MN: With any of the businesses you want to open, are they going to be in New York City or your hometown of Cleveland?
DL: I’m not ruling anything out. Obviously, New York is a first choice but New York is so very different after COVID. I feel like New York is one the cities impacted the most especially with businesses. That is really the toughest question right now because me and Alex have a shop that we have a business license and plan for and the only missing part of the plan is location.
MN: You and Alex have a shop opening?
DL: It’s been in the works for at least a year now.
MN: What’s the name of the shop?
DL: It’s called Claws-N-Ink. It’ll be a combined nail and tattoo shop.
MN: With you pausing on tattooing what does that mean for your future with the show?
DL: I don’t know. Of course I am “Black Ink” to the bone but hey, I’m in spinoff mode right now. So if we stay on the show or me and Alex venture off into our own thing, it’ll still be love. I’ve supported the shop for so many years. Hopefully I get the same support when it is time for me to leave the nest.
MN: How is you and Alex’s relationship going?
DL: We’re good. We’ve been tried through2020 like I’m sure a lot of people have but we’ve learned a lot about each other. We’re still rocking out.
MN: Do you both hear wedding bells in the future?
DL: I think we took a step back from our wedding plans and just more so enjoying life and trying to establish something. We are together all the time. We work together, we host together, we live together, we travel together and it’s a lot. But we are each other’s best friends. Things aren’t as care free as they were two, three years ago.
MN: Who do you want to come back on the show?
DL: Skyy. I miss Skyy. She’s f****** hilarious. I miss my sis.
MN: Why did she leave the show?
DL: I think it was just her time to go and do different things. I been comment watching and she is already missed.
MN: You and Sky have definitely had your own ups and downs in your friendship.
DL: That’s family though. I appreciate that type of relationship. I’m not trying to get into every day but disagreements will happen and the ability to bounce back is what shows me whether or not we have a real friendship.
MN: When you get back to tattooing, who would be your dream client?
DL: Hmmm….I’m so lesbian a fat a** popped into my mind…. Blac Chyna honestly. Amber Rose! I love both of them.
MN: Lastly, what was a highlight or favorite moment from this season?
DL: We are half way through [filming] the season…I threw a whole CBD-infused dinner for the crew. I’m really excited about people getting to see the side of me. I got all good reviews from the crew so hopefully business will be booming.
Black Ink Crew premieres on April 19, 2021 at 8:00 p.m EST.